The 67-year-old Hall, who has won the rich feature harness racing event a remarkable ten times in the past 15 years, will be represented by exciting four-year-old Chicago Bull, equine millionaire Beaudiene Boaz and Cyamach in the $450,000 Group 1event over the marathon trip of 2936m at on Friday night..
Asked if the weight of expectation of a seventh straight Cup victory was a heavy burden, Hall replied that he was not concerned about the law of averages.
“No, I go into these races with an open mind,” he said. “And, hopefully, we’ve got the right horses to do the right job. And I think we have.”
He ranked Chicago Bull, winner of the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, as his best hope. But he said that Beaudiene Boaz was ready to run a big race.
Chicago Bull, a diminutive New Zealand-bredgelding, is a rising star who has amassed $583,329 from 17 wins and eight placings from only 29 starts. He gave another sample of his class when he raced without cover for the first lap and then enjoyed the ideal one-out, one-back trail before bursting to the front 250m from home and winning by a half-length from fellow four-year-old Soho Tribeca in last week’s Fremantle Cup.
Chicago Bull fared poorly in the barrier draw for this week’s big race in which he again will be handled by the trainer’s son Gary Hall jun. (who has driven the winner of the WA Pacing Cup six times). A win on Friday night would result in Hall jun. equalling the record of seven Pacing Cup wins, a feat achieved by Phil Coulson. Chicago Bull will start out wide at barrier eight on the front line.
“Obviously, Chicago Bull won’t be involved in the early battle; he’ll go back and will be running home strongly,” said Hall sen. “I’m sure there will be a fair bit of action and that there will be a few people (drivers) looking over their right shoulder in the last lap.
“Chicago Bull has done super since his Fremantle Cup win. He was holding Soho Tribeca quite easily on the line.”
Beaudiene Boaz, who trailed the pacemaker Devendra before finishing determinedly to be third behind stablemate My Hard Copy in last year’s WA Pacing Cup, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six in this week’s Cup in which he will be driven by Clint Hall, who is aiming to become the first person to drive the winner of the WA Pacing Cup four years in a row --- after winning the past three Cups with Hokonui Ben (2014) and My Hard Copy (2015 and 2016).
Beaudiene Boaz a son of Badlands Hanover had a tough run before wilting to ninth in last week’s Fremantle Cup. He paced roughly at the start after one of his hind legs struck a wheel of his sulky. He dashed forward, three wide, in the first lap and moved outside the pacemaker Franco Nelson after a lap before hitting the front 480m from home. He was still in front at the 250m mark (when Chicago Bull surged to the lead).
“You can’t discount Beaudiene Boaz’s prospects and I think he’s a good each-way chance,” said Hall sen. “Cyamach a son of Mach Three will be driven by Nathan Turvey from barrier four and he will go forward early in an attempt to lead. He’s essentially a frontrunner.”
Hall jun. predicted that there would be abundant early speed and that Chicago Bull would not be bustled in the early stages. “The long journey will suit him.”
Greg and Skye Bond, who hold a commanding lead in the Statewide trainers’ premiership table and are the leading trainers in Australia this season, are hoping to break through for their first success in a WA Pacing Cup. They have strong each-way prospects in Our Jimmy Johnstone and Delightful Offer.
Our Jimmy Johnstone, an eight-year-old to be driven by Ryan Warwick, will start from out wide at No. 7 on the front line, with five-year-old Delightful Offer (Ryan Bell) starting from barrier No. 3.
Our Jimmy Johnstone was an excellent third in last week’s Fremantle Cup and Delightful Offer impressed in running home solidly from last at the bell to be fifth. Our Jimmy Johnstone began fast from barrier seven, but was trapped three wide for the first 500m before Warwick restrained him. He finished boldly from sixth at the bell into third place.
“Our Jimmy Johnstone measures up to this class and 2900m is right up his alley,” said Greg Bond. “He’s probably our better chance. Delightful Offer is a developing horse on the way up and I expect him to finish this week’s race as well as most.”
Trainer Michael Brennan and reinsman Michael Grantham are looking for a strong effort from seven-year-old The Bucket List from his favourable draw at No. 2 on the front line.
“The distance will suit him,” said Brennan. And Grantham said: “I’ll be going out as hard as I can in an attempt to hold on to the back of the speed battle.”